'We have more than million members'

WITH more than 400000 people having joined the ANC since December 2007, the party's elective conference in 2012 is set to mark a change in tradition.

ANC chief of campaigns and deputy minister of Police Fikile Mbalula yesterday announced that the party had reached its 2010 goal of recruiting more than one million members.

Mbalula told a media briefing in Cape Town yesterday that the party membership had "long reached" the one million mark.

"In fact, we've got a problem of overpopulation of our members," he said.

Fellow NEC member Mathole Motshekga said the party's computer system had not been able to accommodate all the people who wanted to join.

"There are people outside the system who should have been inside the system a long time ago," he said

The ballooning of membership will lead to a change in party traditions and affect how the next ANC president is chosen.

Currently, an audit of 100 members "in good standing" at branch level qualify the branch to have at least one delegate at national conference.

Already with more than 5000 branches in good standing, it would be the job of ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe to devise new ways of choosing delegates ahead of conferences.

The list process ahead of the local government elections next year and the selection of conference delegates are creating tensions within the ANC.

As the party swells its ranks, Mantashe has lamented that the ANC was in danger of attracting self-serving people who viewed the party as a get-rich-quick scheme and a one-way ticket to plush government jobs.

"The influence of money in our processes is having the potential to change the character of the movement from being people-centred and people-driven to one where power is wielded by a narrow circle of those who own and/or control resources," he said.